Soul Sharer - Chapter 1

Basically, this started out as a manga, but mangas take a hell of a lot more effort, so I decided to write it instead. It's about a guy called Lyle and a panther-related on to find out more, I don't want to give the story away!

It was late when Lyle woke up. Morning still, but later than it should have been. Lyle sat up in bed, yawning, and lazily flicked on the radio, something he always did first thing in the morning. Adjusting the white noise to something more audible, he yawned again. Lyle never really was a morning person. In fact, he wasn't an afternoon person either. It was at night when Lyle really felt alive. He'd stay up all night, working out, listening to music, more working out... probably why he could never get up early enough.

  "And that was Florence Weatherby from our local gardening club."

  Lyle sighed. Local radio never was what it was cracked up to be. He went to change stations, but something stopped him.

  "And in other news, a panther has been spotted in the area. Residents are warned to stay in busy, urban areas and to keep out of fields, woods, and other open, isolated places. The panther is small and black, and has been spotted in several different neighbourhoods..."

  A panther? That doesn't sound right...Hm, it's probably just a big cat...

  Lyle switched the radio off, before lying down to go back to sleep. What he'd just heard meant nothing to him. School was still another half hour away; there was time for another five minutes rest...Whatever Lyle thought, his mum thought different.

  "Lyle! Get out of bed now, for god's sake! You can't be late again!"

When Lyle got to school, his first lesson was nearly over. He'd missed the bus, so he'd had to walk. Again. He walked in the door just as the teacher was leaving.

  "See me after school, boy."

  "Yes, sir."

  Lyle sat down, in his usual spot, next to a girl he'd known since primary school. Ella.

  To most people, Ella was popular, attractive, and relatively easy to get along with. To Lyle she was positively gorgeous. Like some sort of angel, she was radiant to him, the main subject of his attention. Of course, she had her downsides. She was fiery with a quick temper, and could maybe even be described as forceful, but Lyle was too smitten to care about that. He waited patiently by her side for her to notice him. Eventually she turned away from the group of girls she was talking to and faced him, her golden brown hair swaying with the force of her turn.

  "Oh, hey Lyle!" Her smile was warm, yet there was a hint of annoyance in her voice. "Why didn't you get here earlier? I need to tell you something!"

  Lyle's head shot up, pulling his eyes away from the desk to her sparkling blue stare.

  "What is it?"

  "There's a panther nearby!"

  "Oh." The desk was back in his line of vision.

  "Well don't sound too excited! Don't you get it?! It's a panther! Someone could get killed out there!"

  "It's only a panther." Lyle tried to sound calm, believing that it made him sound brave, and tough, possibly an attraction to Ella. In fact, her stare turned into a glare, and she leaned forward, her hands pressed onto the desk.

  "Are you out of your mind?! It could come in here at any point, you know!"

  "I doubt that. Anyway, I could take that thing on myself. Easy!"

  Lyle reached for an apple in the depths of his bag, and once he pulled it out, proceeded to take a bite out of it. Ella just scowled at him, before turning back to the group of girls from before.

  Great. She's angry. Just what I need at the start of the day.

  Lyle knew Ella wasn't going to give this up any time soon, so when break was finished he walked out of the classroom alone. As she hurried past him, she slowed down and turned towards him.

  "Don't do anything stupid, idiot."

  Lyle rolled his eyes. What did she think he was going to do, fight it?!

  It was dark when Lyle finally left school. He'd missed his bus from staying behind, and so had to walk. And to his annoyance, it was raining.

  He was only a few blocks away from home when he heard a cry, like a girl shouting. He quickened his pace and turned the corner, to see a man, about thirty, walking towards a girl about his age. The man was tall, and well built, wearing a large trench coat. He held his breath and retreated back around the corner, keeping his eye on the man. Lyle went to run, but hesitated. He couldn't leave the girl on her own. He needed to help her.

  He turned round to think up a plan. He was strong, from his repetitive working out, but the man could have a knife. Or a gun. That coat could have all sorts of things hidden under it. He stared into the distance, trying to come up with something cleverer. As he stared, something caught his eye. Something yellow. It flashed again, somewhat nearer than it had been when he'd first seen it.

  What the hell is that?!

  A pair of yellow circles repeatedly flashed at him through the darkness. They got closer, reflecting the dull light from the street lamps. When he heard the soft, low purring and the gentle padding of paws on the cold stone floor, he knew what those circles were. Eyes. Panther eyes. Before he could react, he was on the floor. A sudden pain ripped through him, like he was about to explode. He felt his skin tear, and his flesh burn. He writhed on the floor, curled up in a ball, the pain too much for him. And then it stopped.

  "Help! Someone, please!"

  The girl. She still needed him. He tried to rise to his feet, the panther swallowed back into the dark depths that surrounded him. He instinctively rose on all fours, and arched his back, increasingly angry. He paused.

  Wait a minute...why am I on all fours?! What? Where's my...

  He looked down to where his hands should have been. In his place were two dark paws, complete with claws. Beyond that he was all fur. He jumped over to a nearby puddle, and looked intensely at his reflection.

  What the...

  Two yellow eyes stared back at him, similar to the pair he'd seen before. He opened his mouth to reveal a set of sharp, pointed teeth. His ears were rounded, farther up his head, and his hair blended in with his face. Lyle was no longer human.

  Why am I...a panther? Where's the real me?

  He opened his mouth again to shout, but all he could do was growl. In a state of confusion he fell to the floor, his newly formed paws resting on his head. And then he heard the girl again. Her voice was weaker, showing more helplessness than panic. Like she'd given in.

  Lyle rushed forwards, and tripped. Walking on fours was going to take some getting used to. When he regained his balance he jumped forwards again, and turned the corner. The man was still, there, pinning the girl against the wall, who just stood there, vulnerable, eyes closed and tears streaming down her face.

  Lyle growled, and emerged from the darkness. The man turned in shock to face him, dropping the girl in the process. She fell to the floor like a ragdoll, limp and lifeless.

  "What...a panther?"

  Lyle's pace quickened, until he was only feet away from the man. He watched as the girl hurriedly got to her feet. And then he pounced.

  The girl fled. The man lay still on the ground, his clothes stained red from the blood gushing out of the huge, deep lines spread across his chest. Lyle got to his feet, back to their normal form. He ran, ignoring the foreign blood on his hands. He didn't look back. No one ever saw the small black being that scampered away on all fours.

The End

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